Pasay court upholds integrated airport terminal fee
MANILA — A Pasay court has upheld the validity of the integrated airport terminal fee as it dismissed for lack of merit the petition for review filed by the OFW Family party-list.
Judge Pedro Gutierrez of Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 119 declared enforceable Memorandum Circular No. 8 series of 2014 issued by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), which integrates the terminal fee in the cost of airline tickets.
The court said the memorandum circular was not in conflict with the law exempting overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from paying the terminal fee also known as the International Passenger Service Charge.
“In both laws, there is refund mechanism for exempted passengers who have been charged (with) terminal fee upon purchase of tickets,” the court order dated June 20 said.
In its petition, the OFW Family party-list argued that the refund mechanism provided in the MIAA memo was incompatible with Section 35 of the Migrant Workers Act and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.
Migrant workers’ advocates have slammed the hassle for OFWs to line up for reimbursement when they were not supposed to pay the terminal fee in the first place.
The MIAA memo states that the measure is meant to ease congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) by trimming down the processing time of passengers.
Judge Gutierrez said stopping the memorandum circular would slow down the continuing improvements of the country’s airports.
To issue a preliminary injunction against respondents MIAA and Department of Transportation and Communication “would render nugatory the gains of the respondents of a better revenue for the improvement of our dilapidated airports,” the order said.
Gutierrez’s order set aside a previous resolution issued by Pasay RTC Branch 109 on Nov. 19, 2014, which declared the memo unenforceable.
The MIAA memo integrates the collection of terminal fee when tickets are bought online, abroad or over the counter when there is no certificate of exemption presented.
Exempted passengers may refund the P550 terminal fee from MIAA or before departure at NAIA terminals upon showing of proof.
Under the law, exempted passengers include OFWs, pilgrims endorsed by the National Commission of Muslim Affairs, athletes endorsed by the Philippine Sports Commission, and others authorized by the Office of the President. SFM
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